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Jiangyuan 將苑

Nov 19, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Jiangyuan 將苑 "The general's park" is a military treatise allegedly written by the Three Empires-period 三國 (220-280) politician and strategist Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮 (181-234). The book is also called Xinshu 新書 "New book" or Xinshu 心書 "Book of the mind". The oldest book catalogues nevertheless show that the book did not exist before the Song period 宋 (960-1279), as it is first mentioned in the bibliography Suichutang shumu 遂初堂書目 from the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279). It is also listed in Jiao Hong's 焦竑 (1540-1620) bibliography Guoshi jingji zhi 國史經籍志 from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644).

It seems that the original title of the book was Xinshu, as for example, in the version that is included in the Yuan-period 元 (1279-1368) series Shuofu 說郛, and was only given the title "Book of the mind" during the Ming period. In his critical research Gujin weishu kao 古今偽書考, Yao Jiheng 姚際恒 (1647-1715) stressed that the attribution to Zhuge Liang is certainly wrong.

The Xinshu is divided into 46 chapters, but the Siku quanshu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要 speaks of 50 chapters, probably because the transmitted version included other writings of Zhuge Liang, like the two memorials Chushibiao 出師表 and the Kuizhentu 夔陣圖.

The person of the general is the center of the Jiangyuan. The commander is the crucial point in winning or losing a war, and thus he must sacrifice his life for the state. A general must be able to select capable officers and to apply his own power in the right situations. As he brings victory on the battlefield, he is successful within his own army. Loyalty and a high moral integrity are indispensable predicates of a commander. The general must be able to unify civilian morality and martial spirit, with the first prevailing over the latter. His strengths are a thorough knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of the own army as well as that of the enemy. A military leader must known how and when to advance or to retreat, and he knows how to disguise the strong units of the army as weak ones. He must not simply trust in the own strengths, nor in the efficiency of the own army; he must not believe that a weak enemy is harmless, nor do his personal capabilities make him too confident. He gives a personal example for all troops, and shares with his men the hardship of war. In the army commands and rules have to be strictly observed, and rewards and punishments have to be clarified and just. Exercise is very important, as is the training of strictly obeying commands. Before going out to the battlefield all plans have to be made. War can only be made when one is sure to be the victor.

A Qing-period 清 (1644-1911) print of the Xinshu is preserved in the Junshi Kexue Yuan 軍事科學院. The title Xinshu is included in the series Guang Han-Wei congshu 廣漢魏叢書, Zishu baijia 子書百家 (Baizi quanshu 百子全書) and Bingshu qizhong 兵書七種. The series Tang-Song congshu 唐宋叢書, Xuehai leibian 學海類編 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編 use the title Xinshu 新書.

The text is also included in the collected works of Zhuge Liang, Zhuge Liang ji 諸葛亮集, which were compiled by Wang Shiqi 王士騏 xxx. The collected works of Zhuge Liang were republished in 1960 by the Zhonghua shuju Press 中華書局.

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